Province failing its obligation to repair the Copper River: Northwest Loggers Association

The association representing small business loggers says the province is failing in its obligation to repair the Copper River Forest Service Road east of Terrace which was heavily damaged during heavy rains and flooding last October.

“Our members have had their [logging] equipment stranded for a period of four months,” Northwest Loggers Association president Trevor Jobb said this week of damage which cut off sections of the road.

And although Pacific Northern Gas (PNG), which has its own troubles because the rains exposed sections of its main natural gas pipeline, is building a tote road to help with repairs, it won’t be finished for at least a month and even then some logging equipment will still be stranded because its located beyond the tote road’s location, Jobb said.

The association is arguing that the Copper River FSR is part of the provincial government’s infrastructure network and that it has an obligation to make repairs beyond what’s considered normal maintenance when unforeseen events such as last October’s heavy rains occur.

“It is logical that [the province] play a significant and leading role in the reconstruction and repairs, and that those repairs are started at the earliest possible time,” Jobb said.

For its part the province is making $200,000 available to help remove stranded equipment although early estimates place overall road repairs and reconstruction in the $2.5 million range.

And in a Jan. 31, 2018 letter sent to Jobb, a senior forests, lands and natural resources and rural development ministry ministry official said the Copper River FSR is “not a capital road; therefore it does not qualify under ministry engineering funding policy for capital funding.”

“Under the policy, the road is to be maintained by the primary user through a road use permit,” noted Kevin Kriese.

So far the ministry has drawn up a repair and reconstruction cost sharing agreement for PNG, BC Hydro, BC Timber Sales and other road users but the issue of who should pay for what and how much remains unresolved.

PNG, for example, maintains that while it is responsible for routine maintenance as a road user, the province is responsible for major work when there are unforeseen events causing extensive damage.

Kriese’s letter was in response to one sent Dec. 12, 2017 that was signed by more than 40 local businesses and associations, including the Kitselas First Nation, asking the provincial government for assistance.

It noted that small operations with stranded equipment are suffering economic hardship.

It also pointed out that the Copper River FSR leads the way to timber harvesting areas and as such is “vital to the survival of ….. businesses and [is] the economic lifeline of the communities and the people that live here.”

“Timber harvested from this area is estimated to be in excess of 200,000 cubic metres annually between all licencees, contributing to over $14 million in direct economic opportunity,” the letter stated.

The letter equated the storm damage to the fires which swept through the interior of the province last summer and so requires the province “to address this damage in similar fashion, with a quick and complete response.”

Aside from industrial users, the Copper River FSR is used by anglers, outdoor recreational enthusiasts and tourists.

In the meantime, PNG continues to work on repairs while it develops a long term plan to reroute and rebury sections of its pipeline.

“PNG is doing everything possible to ensure continued safe, reliable and cost effective service for our customers,” said PNG operations and engineering vice president Joe Mazza.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ferry Island Campground in Terrace now open to out of province visitors

Decision based on recommendations from the provincial government

Infinite Ice’s holistic hockey program returning to Terrace in August

COVID-19 precautions in place for on-ice training, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes

Ice coming to the Terrace Sportsplex in August

Second sheet planned for October, arena closed to the public for the time being

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read